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It’s that time of year. The holidays loom, there is a chill in the air, and countless articles appear providing guidance to sales representatives about how to close the year strong. The five, ten or twenty best strategies are outlined in checklists to insure end-of-year success. “Contact every client” is an action often recommended, as is “Revisit prospects who have chosen another vendor.”
We’ve all heard the sobering statistics that winning a new major account costs far more than keeping one – depending on the study you read, perhaps twenty times as much. And we’ve all heard how even a small increase in a firm’s overall major client retention rate has an exponentially positive effect on revenues and profits. We also know, of course, that, on the flip side, decreases in retention rates produce similarly negative impacts, often devastating and long-lasting.
We all know the statistics. Most selling organizations derive 80% of their revenues from 20% of their clients. Winning a new major account costs up to 20 times more than keeping a current one. And even a small percentage increase in a firm’s major client retention rate can have an exponentially positive effect on revenues – while similar decreases can produce negative financial impacts, often devastating and long-lasting.
In sales, we all bundle our accounts, clients and prospects, into logical groupings to add clarity and understanding to our efforts. We use vertical categories, assembling together our healthcare, consumer products, technology accounts, and others. We also differentiate by geography, adding efficiency in territory management by bundling accounts based on physical locations.
In selling to and serving major accounts, team selling is one of the most powerful, and underutilized, competitive advantages. Effectively mobilizing your organization’s most precious assets, its people, often makes the difference between success or failure in large deals.
Trials and demos can be an important part of your sales cycle, especially in the enterprise space. Another term for a trial or demo, is the “Monkey’s Paw,” which is a small version of your larger service or a consulting project. A successful Monkey’s Paw has three components, which are similar to a successful trial.
Of the many daunting challenges that sales teams face in selling into complex enterprise accounts, one of the most frustrating is that of long, drawn-out sales cycles. Months can pass, even years, while pursuing a major opportunity with an enterprise account, an opportunity that may or may not be won. As that precious time passes, the doubt, the uncertainties, the risks and the costs all increase. How can selling organizations overcome this challenge?